Back Pain Exercises

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This leaflet has been provided by Arthritis Research UK, the national charity committed to preventing the onset of arthritis, developing a cure for arthritis and transforming the lives of those with arthritis.


This leaflet provides simple exercises that may help with back pain.

  • Back pain is common but most cases aren't caused by a serious problem.
  • Most cases of back pain get better on their own within a few weeks.
  • Stay active. Bed rest for more than a couple of days makes it harder to get going. Gradually increase your normal activities and do regular exercise.
  • Take painkillers if needed so you can stay active.
  • Your pain should ease within 2 weeks and you should recover over approximately a 4-6 week period.
  • You should carry on with the exercises for at least 6-8 weeks to help prevent another injury.
  • If the pain is severe or not improving after a week or so, contact your doctor.

Pelvic tilt

Pelvic tilt
  • Lie down with your knees bent.
  • Tighten your stomach muscles, flattening your back against the floor.
  • Hold for 5 seconds.
  • Repeat 5 times.

Knees to chest

Knees to chest
  • Lie on your back, knees bent.
  • Bring one knee up and pull it gently into your chest for 5 seconds.
  • Repeat up to 5 times on each side.

Back stretch

Back stretch
  • Lie on your back, hands above your head.
  • Bend your knees and roll them slowly to one side, keeping your feet on the floor.
  • Hold for 10 seconds.
  • Repeat 3 times on each side.

Deep lunge

Deep lunge
  • Kneel on one knee, the other foot in front.
  • Facing forwards, lift the back knee up.
  • Hold for 5 seconds.
  • Repeat 3 times on each side.

One-leg stand (front)

One leg stand
  • Holding on to something for support if needed, bend one leg up behind you.
  • Hold for 5 seconds.
  • Repeat 3 times on each side.

Content used with permission from the Arthritis Research UK website: Exercises to manage back pain. Copyright for this leaflet is with Arthritis Research UK.

Original Author:
Arthritis Research UK
Current Version:
Peer Reviewer:
Arthritis Research UK
Document ID:
29105 (v1)
Last Checked:
Next Review:
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